cover image Taft 2012

Taft 2012

Jason Heller. Quirk (Random, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-59474-550-8

Heller, a contributor to The A.V. Club, makes a stellar debut with his satirical alternate history. The premise is audacious: President William Howard Taft disappears on the day his successor, Woodrow Wilson, is to be inaugurated in 1913, and he inexplicably shows up on the White House lawn almost a century later. After scientists and scholars confirm his identity, he begins the daunting process of understanding a radically different America, which, for all its technological advances, desperately needs direction. This surprisingly poig-nant novel will find an eager audience in the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, but it deserves a longer shelf life. Heller’s numerous historical insights and observations regarding Taft as president, husband, American, and human being will have more than a few readers wishing Taft really could be a third-party candidate in 2012, to be a rational voice in the “din of all this twenty-first century madness.” (Jan.)